United States: Senate committee examines testimony on agency priorities
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In a hearing before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, regulators from the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”), FDIC and OCC testified about the current priorities and challenges of the agency.
The Committee considered the testimony of:
- OCC Acting Controller Michael Hsu who said the challenges requiring urgent OCC attention are (i) banking convenience, (ii) banking inequality, (iii) coping with digitization and (iv) the risk of climate change in the financial system.
- FDIC President Jelena McWilliams, who highlighted the agency’s efforts on (i) consumer protection, (ii) financial inclusion, (iii) the monitoring process and other recent regulatory actions, (iv) readiness for resolution and (v) diversity, equity and inclusion. She noted the efforts of supervised institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including (i) allowing modification of loans at no charge, (ii) removing account fees, (iii) providing clients with borderline services. street and at home, (iv) provide customers with the ability to open accounts and carry out financial transactions online or via a mobile application and (v) set up procedures for sanitation and health control of employees in branches.
- NCUA President Todd Harper has called for Congress to consider legislation to provide the NCUA with review and enforcement power over third-party providers, such as credit union service organizations.
At the hearing, committee chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and committee ranking member Pat Toomey (R-PA) disagreed on the agency’s priorities and their most challenging challenges. urgent.
Senator Brown asserted that working class individuals are subject to “exorbitant” bank fees, high minimum balance requirements and “segregated second chance accounts.” Senator Brown advocated for (i) cost-free bank accounts that will allow all Americans to open a bank account, (ii) to fill regulatory loopholes that do not subject FinTech companies to the same rules that banks and Credit unions are subject to and (iii) strong financial watchdogs that hold institutions accountable for serving their clients and communities. He called on the FDIC to change its approach to bank mergers, saying its current approach leaves small towns across the country without bank branches. Senator Brown praised NCUA President Harper for his “bipartisan” approach to ensuring credit unions serve their customers and communities and OCC Hsu Interim Controller for proposing to cancel the changes to the Community Reinvestment Act, which he called “misguided”.
Ranking committee member Toomey criticized the Biden administration’s use of financial regulation to promote “unrelated social goals.” He expressed concern over the decision of the OCC Interim Controller Hsu to have the OCC join the Network for Greening the Financial System and the affirmation of NCUA Chairman Harper. , according to which credit unions will have to consider “adjusting their membership scopes or changing loan portfolios”, stating that such actions are anchored in policy, not in assessing real risks. Ranking committee member Toomey praised FDIC Chairman McWilliams for the agency’s review process for deposit insurance proposals, noting his contribution to the rise in de novo banks.
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